Arkansas Awards $8M to Workforce Development Programs


Arkansas Awards $8M to Workforce Development Programs
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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced more than $8 million in grants for workforce development programs across the state. 

Recipients were chosen in a "Shark Tank"-style process that examined 15 proposals from colleges, universities, nonprofits and public entities. They were evaluated based on factors including how effectively and efficiently resources could be deployed, local and regional workforce needs, and program sustainability after grant funding expires.

"We don't have an unlimited source of funds in Arkansas for workforce training, so we want to invest it wisely," Hutchinson said during an event at the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce. "And you do that by partnering with industry to guide our training, our funding, so that it results in jobs."

The recipients and the grant amounts they received are:

  • The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, $1.91 million to develop a regional cyber-learning center in partnership with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences and other U of A System schools. Arkansas Business whispered about this grant on Monday, along with another the university has applied for that will fund the same project.
  • Forge Institute, $1.68M for a cybersecurity program that will train up to 240 workers over 3 years
  • Black River Technical College, $1.31 million for a CDL truck driving program that will train up to 496 drivers over three years
  • Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, $1.24 million to develop welding and composites manufacturing program with a focus on boats
  • Arkansas State University-Beebe Searcy campus, $686,661 to develop a training program for automation and robotics 
  • Clark County Workforce Training Group, $421,315 for millwright and industrial maintenance training
  • South Arkansas Community College, $259,211 to develop a forestry training program to support the state's timber industry
  • Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, $246,295 to support training energy efficiency, industrial maintenance, roofing and HVAC
  • North Arkansas College, $226,000 to expand its CDL truck driving and manufacturing training programs